Sunday, April 22, 2007

by request: PIERRE MOERLEN`S GONG - Second Wind

Pierre came from a rich musical heritage, both parents were music teachers, his father taught piano and organ at the Strasbourg Conservatory as well as being organist of Strasbourg Cathedral. Naturally Pierre was taught to play piano from an early age but soon declared a preference for drums. He started with a snare, progressing to a drum kit and then full percussion. In '67 he went to the Conservatory to study percussion under Jean Batigue, leader of the Percussion de Strasbourg. He graduated in '72 with the Premier Prix du Percussion. It was there that he met Mireille Bauer who graduated in '74 having won the same honour. Benoit Pierre's younger brother also went to the Conservatory, specializing in the vibraphone. Before joining Gong in June '73 Pierre toured with the Company Claude Confortes of Grenoble and worked briefly with Gabriel Federow, who went on to Magma.
Pierre's relationship with Gong was a musically rich if personally a roller-coaster one. He appeared on and co-composed two of their most beloved and accomplished albums 'Angel's Egg' and 'You`, both released in 1974. But between the recording sessions and tours Pierre left and re-joined the band and their communal house several times, vacating the drum stool to be replaced by a succession of drummers, including Bill Bruford and Brian Davidson, all of whom had to be at the top of their game to try and match his almost imperious excellence during this period.
On the demise of the the 'classic' Daevid Allen-led Trilogy Gong and the departure of other key members in 1975 the band in continued, recording 'Shamal', and 'Gazeuse`, in 1976. Each of these albums moved steadily musically towards a purer jazz-fusion sound which would eventually lead to the formation of Pierre Moerlen's Gong. 'Expresso II' was released in 1978 in under the name Gong (to complete the Virgin contract) with Mick Taylor, Alan Holdsworth, Bon Lozaga and Francois Causse guesting, but was released in North America under the name Pierre Moerlen's Gong. This band then toured Scandinavia and Germany where they gathered a large following
Pierre and Benoit also played on several Mike Oldfield sessions, including those for 'Ommadawn', 'Incantations', 'Platinum', 'Crises', 'Islands', and the live version of Tubular Bells. Pierre also appeared on 'Iskander' with Supersister in 1973, 'Desperate Straights' with Slapp Happy/Henry Cow, 'Mathematicians Air Display' with Pekka Pohojol a, 'Vibrarock' with Robert Wood, on which Mike Howlett also appeared, and Mick Taylor's eponymous solo album.
He signed to Arista in 1978 and recorded 'Downwind' with Didier Lockwood, Mick Taylor, Terry Oldfield and Stevie Winwood guesting. 'Live' was recorded during the Downwind Tour in early '79.
His next album, 'Time is the Key' was recorded in summer '79 with Peter Lemer and, guesting: Alan Holdsworth, Darryl. Way, N. Ramsden, J. Kirby. And 'Leave it Open' in March 80 with Charlie Mariano and Brian Holloway guesting. There followedtours of America and Europe in Summer to Winter 1980, then the band split.
Pierre joined the Swedish Band Tribute from 1985 to 1986 recording 'Breaking Barriers' and 'Live' both released in 1986. He reformed Pierre Moerlen's Gong and recorded the Scientology-inspired 'Breakthrough' in Sept '86 with Tribute '86, and 'Second Wind` '88. Toured Europe '87 & '88.
One of the most accomplished musicians of the whole Canterbury scene, Pierre Moerlen, who died on May 3rd 2005 aged only 52, was certainly a world-class drummer, whose work with Gong and Mike Oldfield, not to mention his 'solo' albums as Pierre Moerlen's Gong, has attracted wide critical praise.

1. Second wind (6:10)
2. Time and space (5:31)
3. Say no more (5:37)
4. Deep end (4:20)
5. Crystal funk (4:27)
6. Exotic (5:52)
7. Beton (3:53)
8. Alan key (5:38)

CD Bonus Tracks (Line 1992):
9. Crash & Co. the first (5:53)
10. Crash & Co. the second (8:52)
11. Crash & Co. the third (15:27)

Total Time: 71:12

- Frank Fischer / piano, synthesizers
- Benoît Moerlen / vibraphone, marimba, synthesizer
- Pierre Moerlen / drums, synthesizer
- Hansford Rowe / bass- Stefan Traub / vibraphone, synthesizer
- Ake Ziedén / guitars


Please leave a comment


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post.
I prefer the Pierre Moerlen Gong as I find Daevid Allen's output just a bit too weird and twee for repeated listening. Oddly though, I am a fan of Steve Hillage - Go figure (-;

Anonymous said...

Please could you reupload Pierre Moerlen's Second Wind? Thank you very much. Do you have "Leave it open" too? Oh, Megaupload's service is horrible.

Anonymous said...

Hello! Does anyone have the album "Breaking Barriers" by Tribute and could upload it please? I've been searching for it for who knows many years now, without success. When it appears on amazon occasionally, it's ridiculously expensive. There's not a lot of info on google either, I wonder why that is!? Anyway, thanks for reading :)